CHILCAS
Maule Valley
Nestled in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, in the shadow of the Descabezado Volcano, lies the Chilcas flagship Maule Valley San Rafael Vineyard. Named for a native Chilean bush that grows in the region, Chilcas wines exude a sense of place. With an emphasis on the Maule Valley, Winemaker Carlos Gatica aims to produce the finest wines from the 240 acres of estate vineyards in the Maule, Curico, Colchagua and Casablanca Valleys. Across three tiers of wines - Reservas, Icons and Single Vineyards - Chilcas wines are an authentic expression of their terroir, showcasing the fruit flavors and aromas that are characteristic of Chile's most important wine appellations and the grape varieties that thrive there. A true steward to the land, Chilcas is intensely committed to sustainability and, as part of the VIA Wines family, has been certified sustainable under Wines of ChileĀ“s Sustainability program.

"Distinctly rich but lithe...shows as much elegance as heft."
Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar (2011)
  • Founded: 1998
  • Winemaker: Carlos Gatica
  • Size: 240 acres
  • Climate: Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and winter rains
  • Key Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pais, Pinot Noir, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec

Winemaking

Chilcas aims to produce wines that match perfectly with food, elegant wines that express the grape variety complemented with oak, where the fruit is always the star. Winemaking with minimal intervention allows the grapes to express their natural flavors and aromas, as well as their terroir. Fruit is mostly hand-harvested, with some machine harvesting to ensure that grapes are picked at optimal ripeness. Each varietal is fermented and aged independently, with the appropriate length of time for maceration and fermentation to obtain maximum aroma extraction and quality. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, with various combinations of stainless steel, French and American oak barrels for aging. Both punchdowns and pumpovers are commonly used to enhance extraction for red wines. For blends, the varietals are blended together just before stabilization and bottling. The VIA Wines commitment to sustainability extends to the cellar, reflected in the winery’s limits on water use, materials management efficiency, energy use and waste management.

Viticulture

Located 155 miles south of Santiago in the Maule Valley, the San Rafael Estate Vineyard offers a vast diversity of soil types, enabling a variety of both red and white grapes to be grown. The Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and rainfall concentrated in winter, helps control vine vigor and berry size. This allows bunches to ripen evenly and thoroughly. The cool climate and clay-loam soils of the Casablanca Valley make for quality growing conditions for Sauvignon Blanc in particular at the Tapihue Vineyard. In the Colchagua Valley, the country’s premier red wine appellation, the Nilahue Vineyard produces excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. Across all these estate vineyards, the Chilcas philosophy of sustainable viticultural practices is upheld, with regards to water, nutrition, pest, disease and ecosystem management.

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